As the largest private funder of human services in the region, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago understands that quality delivery of human services is critical to both serving our most vulnerable citizens, and to improving the economic future of our state.

We recognize that the state must resolve its financial issues for the greater good of Illinois.

We are concerned about the impact of cuts to human services on Illinois children and families. We realize government cannot fulfill our human infrastructure needs alone. We believe that sustaining human services in our state will require a collaborative effort among government, civic and private sectors and that we must act on this together now.

We look forward to working with the administration to help determine new service delivery approaches, to create and incentivize efficiencies, and to provide quality, cost-effective social services to the citizens of Illinois amidst considerable fiscal challenges.

2016 Public Policy Agenda

United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s public policy agenda reflects the work of United Ways across the state in the areas of education, income and health. Additionally, United Way advocates for sound policies affecting the non-profit sector’s capacity to serve those in need and advance the common good. United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, along with our sister office United Way of Illinois has established engagement strategies within each of the following four areas:


Education: Laying The Foundation For Future Success

Illinois’ competitiveness in a global economy depends upon academic achievement. To succeed, students must enter school ready to learn and navigate the transitions to high school, post-secondary study and work.

To ensure children receive a quality education and stay in school through graduation, United Way will:

  • Advocate to make high-quality, affordable, early-learning opportunities available to all children
  • Promote partnerships that support family engagement and community-based involvement to improve student academic achievement
  • Support comprehensive and consistent assessment and measurement standards from Pre-K through high school graduation

Income: Fostering Strong Communities Through Financial Stability

Financial stability has taken on greater importance for many Illinoisans as our economy struggles to rebound. Households that are financially stable and have sufficient income to support their families create a stronger community and economy.

To ensure families and individuals have the resources they need to achieve financial stability, United Way will:

  • Support increased access to work support programs and streamlined processes for critical public benefits
  • Promote strengthening of financial literacy programs to help individuals avoid financial hardship and develop lifelong security

Health: Preventing Chronic Disease And Ensuring Access To Care

Access to affordable, quality health coverage is the key to ensuring Illinoisans can lead healthier lives. Receiving healthcare early in life and throughout adulthood is an important way to prevent obesity and chronic diseases that are becoming more prevalent today.

To ensure families and individuals are able to live healthier lives, United Way will:

  • Support access to healthcare by connecting people to affordable, comprehensive health services
  • Combat preventable chronic disease through the promotion of strategies that support wellness and healthy lifestyles

Community Strengthening: Building Capacity To Advance The Common Good

Much like roads, hospitals and schools, community services are part of our state’s vital public infrastructure that must be maintained and strengthened. In order to continue advancing the common good, we must make sure the state has a well-managed and highly coordinated network of community services.

To ensure Illinois has the essential services that protect public health and safety, revitalize local economies and enhance learning, United Way will:

  • Advocate for a state budget that adequately funds strategic investments in Illinois’ health and human services
  • Promote fair, efficient and transparent contracting practices between service providers and government funders
  • Support efforts to reduce unnecessary state administrative burdens on human service providers and their programs
  • Enhance community resources that ensure a seamless infrastructure of health and human service support for those in need